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Matt Kuscher Brings Wynwood a Boatload of Craft Beer

Matthew Kuscher, the owner of eco-friendly, locally-minded LoKal in the Grove, has teamed up with LoKal manager and friend David Rodriguez and his fiancee CiCi Barmon, to open a similar concept named Kush. The new bar/restaurant is coming to a little corner spot in Wynwood and, though it's undergoing some construction, it's very close to an opening. Like LoKal, Kush will be as green as it can get from its locally sourced food to its hurricane Andrew wood tables and repurposed furniture (their tables are actually kegs). But the main attraction at Kush will be a fantastic amount of beer. That means Kush will have eighteen taps, nine of them rotating to serve up various hard-to-find beers, cask ales, a nitro tap and an age and reserved bottle list.

Where decor is concerned, the 25-seat Kush is small and homey. It's still pretty bare, save for the large Kush sign pictured above, red couches, keg tables and a wooden bar with anti-social media messages, but Matt tells us exactly what it will look like. According to him, a huge photo of Purvis Young will be pasted onto the wall to your right as you enter, a graffitied declaration: "cheap beer ain't good, good beer ain't cheap" will follow on the next wall, the men's bathroom will be covered in pages from Matt's book and the ladies' in uplifting quotes and behind the bar, a tap tower made of all recycled steam pipes and Matt's own tap handles (one's a super man figurine). We spoke to Matt aka Kush, who, donning a "beer snob" shirt raved about his Cantillon, about what his beer haven's all about, some menu items, his biggest excitement and an opening date.

How long have you been working on the concept for Kush?
It's something that by beer director David has been trying to get me to do for two years and I didn't listen to him for two years and then about three or four months ago, they showed me this property and I was just curious to see, just because I liked the space, I knew the area. This corner for some reason always drew me and when I saw the space it kind of dawned on me that this is going to be the center of the craft beer community. There's going to be five breweries in a five block radius here. We already do the Miami Brew Bus and I thought it would be perfect if we could start and stop our Brew Bus here. So, his two years of nagging me ... the space kind of sold me on what he was telling me.

Tell me a little bit about this insane beer menu I've been hearing about. Eighteen taps, an aged and reserved list, what else can we expect?
So, there's eighteen taps. The permanent taps that we have, we try to get beers that you cannot really find anywhere and we do that because David has relationships with all the distributers and because of his beer knowledge, they pretty much give him first dibs on anything that's rare, that we can't get. So, we've built ourselves up to this point. We've also been aging beers in my house for three years, waiting for a moment like this. We have a reserve list at LoKal, but it's kind of hidden. So, we've been aging them for that. And here we're going to do it, but it's going to be very in your face. We're going to try and talk about these reserved beers that you can't get, so instead of being cool at LoKal, here it's going to be for everybody. We're going to have casks every week, we have a nitro line, we're going to have beers that are made just for us and obviously we're going to have rotating beers.

What are some of the local breweries you're working with?
Wynwood, Funky Buddha, Cigar City, MIA when they open, and Johnathan Wakefeild when they open up.

What are some of the beers you already have?
A lot of Evil Twin, we have some Cantillon, we have some Prairie Oak. We got a lot of cool stuff.

I heard Kush will have half of LoKal's menu and half it's own unique offerings. What will those look like?
The menu is going to be limited. I'll have about 20 items. Half I'm bringing over and half are brand new. All in the same theme of local products. I found out that one of my guys who I get my beef from is starting to raise boar, so we're going to get some wild boar from him and we're going to make a boar sandwich and boar sausages as an appetizer. We're going to do a grilled cheese with sopo de tomate ... I dont know if I want to give away this idea yet, it's just so good ... We're going to do Kush brownies, we're going to have a couple of burgers. The Kush brownies are going to have a little surprise for everybody, which will be legal, but will be very cool.

What are you most excited about with the new opening?
To be honest with you, just to be part of this neighborhood. I always loved this neighborhood, I feel like the neighborhood was about me. When I opened up LoKal I wanted to do it here, but it just didn't work out that way. And I didn't want to do another LoKal in Miami, so I'm glad I found another niche, another concept we could do that would fit into this neighborhood, so we could be part of it. And going to my first Wynwood meeting last night, it was nice to see all the people in the community and the neighborhood, it was really active - I'm really excited about the neighborhood. So, that was cool.

What has been the most challenging aspect about bringing this all together?
I would say the only thing that was really challenging is my own insanity of wanting to make sure that everything was perfect. I already had a lot of great people around me and everyone seemed super excited about it, so in that sense it's been quite exciting. It's just my own insanity of wanting everything to be perfect and it's never going to be perfect, so I put a lot of pressure on myself. But besides that it's been great.

When should we expect Kush to be open?
I think March 19. March 15 to March 20 should be the dates. Unless some catastrophe happens I don't see why that wouldn't happen. It could be a little sooner but that's probably going to give me enough time to comfortable open.

You mentioned that you wanted to open to more LoKals, is that the goal for the future?
Well, in general my long-term dream is to open LoKal in every major city in Florida. So I want to do somewhere in Broward, something in Delray and if those - hopefully they do well - then I would start going to Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and somewhere in the middle there I want to do another restaurant in Coconut Grove, but again that's a dream and that might be a 20-year dream, but it's my dream.
· All Coverage of Kush [EMIA]

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